Read all about it!

The latest Shawe Physio news & Healthcare science

Text neck tightness

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | January 24th, 2024

Modern communication and media technology advancements have created enormous benefits for us in many social and business domains. However many individuals suffer from what has been described as a ‘text-neck’ posture by Dr Dean Firhsman. Spending extended periods at a desk, or looking at a phone or tablet postitions the muscles of our upper back and neck under long periods of load, which as a result creates feelings of stiffness, discomfort and pain in these regions.

As with all muscular imbalances our bodies adopt a compensation pattern to work around the restriction in movement. In this case, we often adopt a forward or protruding head posture. “Uswitch” conducted a screen-time report for 2022 and noted that “the average individual in the UK spends 3-4 hours watching TV daily and further 6 hours daily viewing social media platforms”. That’s roughly half the time an individual is awake their eyes are fixed on a screen!

A study by Hansraj (2014) noted that the human head produces 10-12 pounds of force on the joints of the neck when the head is upright. As the head tilts forward there is a dramatic increase in force applied. A 30-degree forward tilt of the head places roughly 40lbs of force on the neck and a 60-degree tilt can place up to 60lbs of force! This study combined with the statistics regarding screen time mentioned earlier highlights the damaging effects and increased risk of injury and pain caused by excessive screen use.

The muscles that have a tendency towards stiffness include our upper trapezius and levator scapulae which are situated at the back of our neck. We have included some helpful videos below, on how to improve the state of these muscles and the joints of the neck. It is also essential to follow up the flexibility of tight muscles, by strengthening of the opposing muscles to return muscular balance to the neck. There are a group of small muscles in the front of the neck known as the deep cervical flexor group. These are the muscles which often become weak and unable to maintain the normal position of the head. There are some very simple and effective exercises to target these muscles in the videos below. The following pair of videos are a simple but useful way to start returning normal mobility to the neck.

Levator scapulae self-administered release

Deep Cervical Flexor (Chin-Tucks) strengthening

Please get in touch if you have any questions regarding improving mobility and strength of the neck. Our dedicated fitness specialist and soft tissue therapist Dan would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us at 01992 451849 or via email @ reception@shawephysio.com

References:

  1. Hansraj, K.K., 2014. Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head. Surg Technol Int25(25), pp.277-9.
  2. https://www.uswitch.com/mobiles/screentime-report/